I recently did some coaching with a person new to client management on the topic of Business Etiquette. It may seem old fashioned, yet respect, warmth, charm and common courtesy will be noticed by your clients, prospective clients and business partners.
One area covered in the coaching session was how to introduce people in a business context. Whether it is at the Christmas party, a pitch for new business or an industry networking event, there are some protocols that apply to introductions.
When making an introduction in a business context, one person is always introduced to another person by saying the name of the person to whom the other is being introduced. For example, “Simon, I would like you to meet our new copywriter, William Tell. William, I would like to introduce our Creative Director, Simon Says”. In this instance, the junior member of staff is introduced to the senior member of staff.
The norms for introducing people are:
- The younger person is introduced to the older person.
- A man is introduced to a woman.
- A younger couple is introduced to an older couple.
- A junior member of staff is introduced to a senior member of staff.
- For de facto couples or married couples with different surnames, introduce the woman first and use their full names. For example, “Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy”.
To introduce yourself when meeting new colleagues, clients and at networking events, extend your hand and say: “Hello, I am first name surname. I am the title at company name”. For example, “Hello, I am Amanda MacLean. I am a Partner at Equitas Partners”.
In a business networking situation, I tend to introduce myself even if I have previously met the person. This helps to alleviate any discomfort on the other person’s behalf if they do not remember you.
If you forget someone’s name that you have previously been introduced to, simply apologise briefly and wait for them to volunteer their name. Remember to use a friendly, warm and relaxed tone of voice when making introductions, and to smile.
In the 2001 movie, Bridget Jones did a fine job of introducing guests at the “Kafka’s Motorbike” book launch party. Armed with the correct protocols, you are sure to glide through the festive season’s round of parties, dinners and business-social events with grace.